Thread: Animal control

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    Animal control
    Senior Member MML's Avatar
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    May 2008
    ANIMAL CONTROL - An independent young woman mistakenly puts herself in danger when she accepts help from her creepy apartment manager in an effort to trap a wounded cat.

    Animal Control.jpg

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    Senior Member DarkElastic's Avatar
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    Nov 2008
    Perth, Western Australia
    Hi MML,

    Thanks for the read.

    I Liked the characters.
    Very simple set-up with really only two or three locations.
    Good story.
    Well written.
    I liked the two Cats sat together ending. Should have the Ginger one's paw in a sling.

    Not so good:
    Two Cats, it would be hard to get them to do all that. Cats have Unions and will not do all those scenes! ;-)
    The story isn't really anything new. We've seen this story quite a lot.
    The ending is very Hollywood.
    Some of what Leon said was very Cliche.
    The action is clumped together. I know you did it to get it in under the 6 pages. But, it would have read better if the action could have been broken up.

    Overall, a good read. Thanks.

    Marshall Dean


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    Junior Member
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    Oct 2008
    Fantastic work Marnie! Serious.

    This was a standard (though very well written) “creepy guy abducts innocent girl” scenario, but the cat imagery you played with throughout the entire script elevated this to something more than that. I really believe that visual through-line that you created here can be very special.

    Her getting caught in the dumpster as a parallel image to the cat, him calling her “my pet”, of COURSE the sharpened nails…and I mean come on, that moment with Leon purring “Here kitty kitty kitty” to her. LOVED IT. The slimiest, nastiest, cringe-worthy double entendre I’ve heard in a loooong time.

    You match the right director up with this and it could be a whole lot of fun.

    Here’s my necessary bad note that I have to give so people don’t just think I’m sucking up: in my opinion, you can do better with the title. I see what you’re doing there…but I think you just need something that matches the level of dark ingenuity displayed in the rest of the script.

    Great work. You should be very proud of this.

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    I actually really enjoyed this. Had no idea what to expect. Was pleasantly surprised.

    The action and descriptions were tight and lean. Made it easy to read. And the reveal towards the end of the girl's claws(very good thinking on her part) was very satisfying.

    I don't know why but I found the characters of the two cats to be the best. They didn't do anything but you wrote them so well that they just intrigued me. They had personalities. Especially Newman. He just watches. And somehow I hold him at high regard. Like some type of hero. Or king. I don't know what it was, but I really liked that character. Probably my favorite character in the contest so far. Ridiculous, I know.

    Great job.

    If anything, I'd say humanize the manager a bit more.

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    Senior Member Rustom Irani's Avatar
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    Mar 2009
    Bombay, India
    I don't know if you've read any "Richard Laymon", but I say this as a compliment that you've got his thematic style in executing your plot. The horror in ordinary occurence is what makes good tension great and for me the story really took hold once they enter the woods.

    Could the early set-up be short? Sure!

    To me you were able to convey his motivations and character type via dialog plus his lascivious actions and her attempt towards taking a heroic turn juxtapose well with the initial Yuppy gal persona you create earlier.

    Newman is too good a name to waste on a cat who doesn't do much, unless there's a "Seinfeld" reference somewhere.

    A few adverbs describing the action could be trimmed up, but again it's a matter of taste.

    This moves fast, reads simple but has viceral action and moments that work, work well.

    And you call me sick! The gal pierced his throat with faux nails! I LOVED it!

    Good job, Marnie!
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    Senior Member Sarah Daly's Avatar
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    Nov 2008
    Yes I liked this a lot! A very solid story that moves along nicely and keeps us engaged throughout. Some very nice detail and little touches that elevate it from being just another 'torture porn' type set-up. Just one thing that confused me was the end. Why isn't Leon locked up? Oh and I agree with EVH about the title. Maybe something creepier like 'Kitty Kitty'.
    Great job though - you know its good when you don't really notice you're reading it cos you're so involved

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    Senior Member Sunk99's Avatar
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    Apr 2011
    ANIMAL CONTROL by Marnie Mitchell-Lister

    Overall: 4
    Plot: 4
    Characters: 5
    Dialogue: 6
    Structure: 6
    Originality: 3
    Style/Quality of Writing: 6
    Entertainment Value: 3
    Cinematic Quality: 3

    Synopsis: A man who is a cat hater throws a cat in a dumpster. A woman hears the cat and gets it out.
    The man helps the woman herself get out, but is attacked by the cat which runs into the woods. They both track it to
    a shed. When they go inside the man kidnaps her, binds her, and throws her into a cellar. He later returns.
    He removes her bounds, not thinking her a threat and she grabs the flashlight and knocks him out. It's
    unclear how the story ends. Did she put him in the dumpster?

    Pg 1
    and perfect french manicure
    ***Easy to tell you're a female writer.
    Pg 3
    Leon steps forward, cat in his arms. Suddenly her distrust melts away and she approaches him in a friendly way.
    ***I was good up until here. I thought the cat hated him? Unless of course it is dead in his arms. Why would
    her distrust melt away?
    Pg 4
    ***From cat hater to kidnapper. Big jump. Why didn't he do more sexually then?
    who lay in
    stand but
    As she lay there
    Realization washes over her face.
    ***Please don't say she is going to subdue a man with a sharp fingernail.
    moves her hands, scraping them against the wall.
    ***or even all of her fingernails.
    Pg 6
    Leon kneels down in front of her. She flinches as he reaches out and gently rubs her shoulders and arms.
    ***Why is he kneeling in front of her?
    ***Okay she uses a flashlight - that's believable.
    ***The very ending I'm not sure what happened. It's morning. I assume the next? Is he in the dumpster?
    If so how would she have been able to do such? I found both characters un-plausible or at the least
    stupid. Why would a woman put herself in such a position? I guess it happens. And he felt no need to
    take any precaution against a full grown woman? Sorry doesn't work for me.

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    ScriptFEST Mod Chris_Keaton's Avatar
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    Nov 2008
    Tucson, AZ
    - The first two blocks are bloated. Always look for a chance to trim and make smoother.
    - You shouldn't go in the wood alone...that's like an evil straight line.
    - The whole kidnapping moves to fast (reading wise),pace it, let us feel it.

    Now, she wasn't trapped too long. Was he supposed to be in the trashbag? She just went back to life as usual? Other than her brief fight at the end it felt almost too straight forward with not twists or turns. I also think you spent too much time on the set up. You could jump to the kidnapping real fast and had just the same impact and maybe more. This would give you time to enhance the kidnapping and her plotting. I think you have the starts to a good short with just some tweaks. It's also relatively filmable if the location could be found or dug.
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    Senior Member MML's Avatar
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    May 2008
    Thanks for the reviews. I hate the title too. I switched it from Defenseless to Animal Control....hating them both. I never have an issue with coming up with a good title, not sure why I did with this one.

    I ran out of space....that's why all of a sudden it was a different day and her life back to normal, hoping of course people would assume he had been arrested.

    I think I'll expand it a few pages, lengthen the trapped part and show more of tense escape then of course show more of a complete ending. At least glad to hear that most think it's worth working on some more. I wasn't sure how the cats would go over.

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    Senior Member Bill Clar's Avatar
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    Jul 2006
    Lake Mary, FL
    Leon makes a great antagonist.

    "A faint “MEOW” come from inside." Should be "comes".

    "Unable to touch it or say anything she looks helplessly at the animal." We know she can't touch or say anything to the cat. It's enough to say "she looks helplessly at the animal."

    "Realization washes over her face." What does realization look like? Can you give us a physical description? Eyes wide? Eyebrows raised?

    I was hoping for more of a fight in the end. Let Leon get in a few licks to give him the upperhand. Kristen resorts to throwing the cat in his face, claws bared. It give your story more closure if the cat was involved somehow.

    Good writing and pacing. Believable dialogue. Great villain!
    So, you hate your job? There's a support group for that. It's called EVERYONE. We meet at the bar at 5:00.

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